Westwood College Being Sued By State
Attorney General Lisa Madigan's suit accuses college of misleading students.
The Illinois attorney general's office filed suit Wednesday against Westwood College, according to Chicago Tribune, for misleading students in its criminal justice program and saddling them with debt for a degree that, in many cases, can't get them a job.
Westwood College has four campuses in Illinois, including one at Cumberland and Higgins on the Park Ridge-Chicago border. It's close to Niles and Des Plaines and, because it sits almost at the entrance to the Cumberland Station on the CTA Blue Line, many local residents may pass it frequently.
The lawsuit follows more than 100 students complaints against the college, according to the AP.
Complaints of the for-profit college's criminal justice program include, "poor job-placement rates, high-pressure sales tactics, low graduation rates, excessive profit margins and the burdening of students with crushing debt," according to the Trib.
Students can't find jobs because Westwood's criminal justice program is nationally accredited, not regionally accredited, according to a draft of the suit, which means the degree is not recognized by law enforcement employers like the Chicago Police Department, the Illinois State Guard and many suburban police departments.
Another issue? The cost of the degree, according to the suit. Total tuition for a law enforcement degree at Westwood is $71,610, compared with $12,672 at the regionally-accredited College of DuPage.
A Westwood spokesman told the Tribune the college was cooperating with the attorney general's office to resolve any issues. Westwood also requires students to initial a policy stating the program is nationally, not regionally, accredited.
The suit seeks to "revoke, forfeit, or suspend" Westwood's criminal justice program and "assess a civil penalty of $50,000 per violation of the state's Consumer Fraud Act," according to the Tribune.